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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 167,724 in 2017; Deaths Reach 3,095

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:16

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 167,724 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 13 December, with just over 70 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 358,018 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported Thursday (14 December) that according to Ministry of Interior figures, 118,010 men, women and children have arrived in Italy this year. With just over two weeks remaining in 2017, these totals indicate total arrivals this year are expected to be well short of the 181,436 who arrived in 2016, by an estimated 35 per cent, given current December arrival rates.  This month new arrivals are averaging fewer than 80 migrants per day; that compares with 260 per day in December 2016 and 310 per day in December 2015 (see chart below).

IOM Spain reported that total arrivals at sea in 2017 are now at 20,473 men, women and children being rescued in Western Mediterranean waters. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported this week confirmation of four more deaths in the Western Mediterranean: the Spanish Coastguard reported two missing and one dead in the Alboran Sea on 13 December, plus MMP added one case from 27 November, of a migrant who died in a ferry bound for mainland Spain in Port of Melilla.

There were no new reports of deaths in the Central Mediterranean Sea route.

On Thursday (14 December) IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported at least five incidents off the island of Lesvos, Samos and Leros that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard managed to rescue some 200 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands.

Since 1 August, Namia reports 16,769 men, women and children have entered Greece by sea via the Eastern Mediterranean or almost 50 per cent more migrants than entered (11,405) during all of 2017’s first seven months. Namia further reported that 576 migrants or refugees entered Greece by sea during the dates 11-13 December, or nearly 200 per day.

Through 13 December, the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory is 27,598. If that average holds through the month’s 18 remaining days, 2017 is likely to see the lowest total of sea migrants arriving irregularly to Greece in the last four years (see chart below).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported worldwide deaths have reached 5,323 men, women and children during migration in 2017.

In the Western Mediterranean, MMP reported the Spanish Salvamento Marítimo has recorded testimonies of 32 migrants rescued from a sinking boat on 13 December, reporting that two people went missing in the Alboran Sea between Spain and Morocco during their voyage. In another rescue operation on the same day (13 December), the body of a migrant was found in a boat, five nautical miles west of Alboran Island. The Spanish Coastguard rescued 68 survivors from this boat.

Additionally, reports emerged of the death of a young man inside a container in a ship bound for mainland Spain in Port of Melilla on 27 November. Since 1 January 2017, IOM has recorded the deaths of 210 people in the Western Mediterranean route to Spain – a number that surpasses the total number of deaths recorded in the Western Mediterranean for all of 2016, which totalled 128.

In the Middle East, three migrants died in a vehicle accident on 4 December 15 km from Murchehkhort, in Isfahan (Iran). Additionally, the MMP team recorded cumulative data of deaths confirmed between 1 January and 4 December 2017 on the Iran-Afghanistan border: 97 Afghan migrants reportedly died in vehicle accidents at various locations this year.

On the US/Mexico border, 14 migrants died of hypothermia due to extremely low temperatures in the past two weeks. On 7 December, a Mexican man was found dead in a ranch near Eagle Pass, Texas, while remains of another man of unknown nationality were discovered on a ranch near Norias, in Kenedy County (Texas).

On 8 December, a Guatemalan national suffering from hypothermia passed away in the Big Bend area, near Marfa, Texas. On 9 December, the remains of one migrant were found on the Mexican side of the border, in Nogales, Sonora (Mexico).
The Webb County Medical Examiner reported that an additional 10 migrants have died from hypothermia in various locations in Texas between 1 and 13 December. During this period, Missing Migrants Project also recorded the death of a migrant due to unknown causes in a ranch near Falfurrias, Texas, on 7 December.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/171215_Mediterranean_Update.pdf
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail: dtsagalas@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Berlin, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:33Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency DG Makes Urgent Call for ‘Safe Migration in a World on the Move’ for International Migrants Day

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:09

Geneva – Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, is making an urgent call for “Safe Migration for a World on the Move” as International Migrants Day approaches on Monday, 18 December 2017. 

The Organization will mark International Migrants Day (IMD) with a series of worldwide events including a Geneva award ceremony for the Global Migration Film Festival. The festival, in its second year, includes many public and private sector partners participating with IOM missions in over 100 countries.

In addition to film screenings in Geneva and New York, IOM will participate in a UN leadership debate featuring United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at Manhattan’s UNICEF House, touching on the global compact on migration. The compact is expected to be adopted by the end of 2018, once negotiations by UN member states are concluded. 

The UN leadership debate will explore the common ground on migration, rather than the divisions, DG Swing said. Despite often sharp rhetoric, migration is less a problem to be solved than a human reality to be managed, he explained. 

UNICEF House events also will include the New York opening of the critically acclaimed art installation UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage (for details see www.Together-in-NY.org).

This powerful exhibition brings to life stories of refugees who have settled in the US by exploring past traumas through three-dimensional models of their homes mounted on suitcases they carried on their journeys. In a particularly gripping installation, visitors can explore the bombed home of one refugee family through a virtual reality visualization.

IOM also will be launching a podcast series, TOGETHER: Personal Stories of Migrants and Refugees, hosted by 19-year-old Iraqi-American refugee Ahmed Badr, who, along with his family, was resettled in the US by IOM at a young age. The podcast, along with a new mobile app, shares compelling human stories of migration through thoughtful, revealing interviews with young migrants and refugees in the US.

The podcast’s first four shows will be available on iTunes and other leading platforms.

Ahmed, who was 7 years old when a bomb smashed into his family's house in Baghdad, speaks in the series’ first two instalments with his parents and sister, Maryam, who tell his family’s extraordinary story. In subsequent episodes, Ahmed interviews other young refugees and migrants.

The podcasts are part of the UN TOGETHER initiative to encourage better understanding of migrant and refugee issues through the power of social media.

In an OpEd column penned for International Migrants Day (see Our Right of Passage Should be Safe Migration, Not Leaky Boats), DG Swing said, “While we live at a time when a privileged elite considers global mobility virtually its birth-right, it is denied to countless others trapped in hopelessly bad economic or conflict circumstances.”

DG Swing warned that denial leads to “smuggling networks, human traffickers and modern-day enslavers who ply their trade these days with complete impunity.”

DG Swing will be in New York throughout Monday’s busy schedule and will be available for media interviews.


For more information, please contact:

Leonard Doyle in New York, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int

Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:36Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: International Migrants DayDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Germany, UN Migration Agency Launch First Global Migration Data Portal

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:09

Berlin — Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) will launch today (15/12) the Migration Data Portal in Berlin. The Migration Data Portal brings together the key facts and figures about global migration trends in one place for the first time. 

“Especially in critical times, such as those we are facing today, it is our task to ensure that responses to migration are based on sound facts and accurate analysis,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

The idea to develop such a portal was first discussed and agreed upon on 12 July 2016, at the 2nd Berlin Roundtable on Refugees and Migration, where the former German Foreign Minister met with heads of international organizations working on migration, including IOM, UNHCR, the IFRC, the EC and the World Bank. The Portal was developed by IOM and with the support of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The Migration Data Portal was developed with financial support from the US Department of State and Germany’s Federal Foreign Office.

The portal communicates global data on migration through visualizations, infographics and videos. It simplifies the navigation through complex international migration data for policy makers, journalists, statisticians and anyone interested in migration.

The portal also covers a wide range of topics including data on immigration and emigration trends; the linkages between migration and development; data on irregular migration; students and children; and data on migration policies as defined by the United Nations development goals and background on a global compact on migration expected to be adopted by the UN in 2018.

At its initial stage, the portal features 70 indicators from 15 international data providers (UNDESA, UNHCR and World Bank among others) and aggregates data at the national, regional and global levels. This range offers ample opportunities to explore and compare data while, understanding the context behind it. 

“At a time when migration is high on the global agenda, it is essential that everyone has access to the key facts and figures about migration, and that we better understand the strengths and weaknesses of data on migration,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre.

German foreign policy employs a coherent strategy to manage migratory movements more efficiently and to address the root causes of forced migration. For fact-based policies and responses, reliable data are vital to ensure efficient, needs-based humanitarian aid, to counter harmful assumptions and to fight populism.

The development of the Migration Data Portal is a big step forward towards making the multitude of data on migration better and more available to policy makers.

The Migration Data Portal will scale up in coming months, making more data available at the regional and national levels. Visit the Migration Data Portal at: www.migrationdataportal.org

For more information contact Stylia Kampani at IOM GMDAC: Tel: +49 (0)30 278 778 16; Email: skampani@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:35Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

2017 Sees Highest Number of Syrian Refugees Resettled in Argentina Ever as Five Families Arrive

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:04

Buenos Aires – On 12 December, five Syrian families arrived in San Luis, Argentina, where these 18 persons – adults and children – will have the opportunity to rebuild their lives. This refugee resettlement was part of the Argentinian Government’s “Syria Programme”, which is implemented with assistance from IOM, the UN Migration Agency and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

So far, a total of 318 persons arrived in Argentina between 2014 and November 2017, nearly half of whom – 155 people – did so in 2017. This makes 2017, the year with the highest number of Syrian refugee resettlements in Argentina. The programme, developed in 2014, has recently gathered momentum. Last year at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York, President Mauricio Macri announced that the country would receive 3,000 Syrians. 

IOM and UNHCR have been a part of the programme implementation since mid-2017, particularly in identification, transportation and integration of the new arrivals in Argentina, as well as capacity building for Government institutions. These activities are framed in the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM). This mechanism, led by both agencies, has been designed to offer technical and financial support to countries with an interest in setting up or strengthening resettlement programmes. IOM and UNHCR will continue to support the Syria Programme through the ERCM.

In the programme, the person or organization sponsoring Syrian refugees plays a fundamental role in the resettlement process. They commit to providing accommodation for the families coming from Syria and covering their living expenses for an initial 12 months. The aim is to support their integration into the local community and start to become self-sufficient within their first year in the country. The sponsors can either be private individuals, families, civil society organizations or even State agencies or entities, such as the Province of San Luis.

Thanks to solidarity shown by Argentine society, it is expected that in the coming months more Syrian families will be arriving in San Luis, as well as other parts of the country, such as Buenos Aires, Córdoba, La Rioja, Mendoza and Santiago del Estero.

For more information, please contact Débora Taicz, IOM Argentina, Tel: + 5411 4815 1035, Email: dtaicz@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:31Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaDefault: Multimedia: 

The new arrivals were coordinated as part of the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM) together with UNHCR. Photo: Diego Delpino / UNHCR 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Responds to Displacement Caused by Fighting in Yemen’s Capital

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:02

Sana’a – Renewed clashes between rival forces at the end of last month have affected several parts of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. In addition to the 234 casualties it caused, the brutal fighting triggered large-scale displacement to neighboring governorates.

In response to this sudden displacement, IOM, the UN Migration Agency immediately began providing humanitarian assistance to displaced people and people affected by the conflict using prepositioned stocks of relief including shelter building materials, mattresses, blankets, winter clothes and personal hygiene items.

So far, nearly 25,480 people have been reached with this support in Taizz, Ibb, Hajja and Amran Governorates – all areas where people have fled to from Sana’a. IOM is in the process of bringing more humanitarian relief to the Sa’ada and Sana’a Governorates to improve living conditions of approximately 28,000 vulnerable displaced people sheltering in those locations.

“It is very sad that due to clashes, we have to limit our assistance,” said Hazim Torlic, IOM Yemen Officer in Charge. “Even though this is when it is needed most.”

Since the start of the conflict in March 2015, IOM has reached 219,804 displaced people in 14 of Yemen’s 21 Governorates with similar humanitarian relief.

In addition, IOM provides direct health assistance to approximately 12,000 vulnerable displaced people each month. This is achieved through the deployment of nine mobile health clinics and the provision of direct health support to 19 health facilities serving displaced communities across nine governorates.

This emergency response was made possible through the contributions from the Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF) and the Government of Germany. IOM is seeking additional funding to expand its operations to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable affected populations in Yemen.

For more information, please contact IOM Yemen:
Hazim Torlic, Tel: +967 735 322 204, Email: htorlic@iom.int

Saba Malme, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:34Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Quaid Mohammed shares a small makeshift shelter with several of his children in an IDP camp in the Lahij govenorate of Yemen. Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Labour Rights, Skills Development Needed to Improve Migration Outcomes in Southeast Asia, Say IOM, ILO

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 10:59

Bangkok – Labour migration can lead to long-term improvements in the lives of migrant workers if their labour rights are protected and if they are given opportunities for skills development, say the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), in a new study.

 Released for International Migrants Day on 18 December, Risks and Rewards: Outcomes of Labour Migration in South-East Asia provides a timely assessment of labour migrants’ experiences within ASEAN.

According to the most recent UN statistics, the number of migrants headed to other countries in the region has increased more than fivefold since 1990, reaching nearly 6.9 million. Millions more are employed without legal status and are not captured in official data.

“Despite rapid growth in the numbers of women and men migrating in South-East Asia, the outcomes for migrant workers are not well understood,” said Ben Harkins, ILO Technical Officer and one of the report’s authors.

To inform their work, the ILO TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme and the IOM PROMISE programme collaborated on a large-scale regional survey of over 1,800 migrants from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam, who had been employed in Thailand or Malaysia.

The study developed a Migration Outcomes Index (MOI) to measure changes in the lives of migrant workers from before to after their migration. The Index broadens the way migration outcomes are measured by incorporating both social and economic elements.

To obtain a better understanding of the factors that shape migration outcomes, the study analyzed the migration experiences of survey participants and re-evaluated commonly held beliefs about the practices and conditions that contribute to better outcomes for migrants.

It found that labour migration has a significant impact on poverty reduction within ASEAN. Survey data suggest that the number of migrants living below the poverty line was reduced by 11 per cent after migration.

But the research also found that despite efforts to promote safe migration through behavior change campaigns, migrants in South-East Asia remain vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, regardless of their own decisions. 

The findings indicate that the most significant changes to strengthen the positive development impact of migration are shifts in the policy and practice of governments, employers and recruitment agencies, rather than changing the behaviors of migrant workers.

Priority areas for action include shifting the costs paid for recruitment from workers to employers. The survey found that 73 percent of surveyed workers going to Malaysia from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam took out a loan to pay for their migration, and had to work on average for a whole year to pay the loan back. Ensuring that employers, rather than workers cover recruitment fees is one crucial way for governments and businesses to eradicate debt bondage and forced labour.

 Subsequently, another key factor for improving migration outcomes, is ensuring effective protection of the labour rights of female and male migrant workers, and their access to legal remedies.

The study also identified the need to enhance access of migrant workers to skills validation and skills training that meets employer needs. The current migration context in South-East Asia does not properly link employers, training providers and migrant workers, and thus fails to provide sufficient market incentives for skills development.

“Skills development and validation in partnership with employers can help migrant workers move into jobs with better wages and working conditions, and bolster their economic contribution,” said PROMISE programme manager Anna Platonova.

Although the benefits of labour migration have not been maximized within South-East Asia, the study results show that positive outcomes can be achieved if migrant workers are treated fairly and provided with opportunities to develop their capabilities.

The report calls for shifting the focus of ASEAN governments from remittance flows to migrant-centred policies that improve the migration experience of migrant workers in a holistic manner.

To download the report please go to: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/...

For more information, please contact Anna Platonova at IOM Thailand, Tel: +66 2 3439335, Email: aplatonova@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Capacity BuildingLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Global Migration Film Festival to Conclude with Award Ceremony on International Migrants Day

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 10:58

Geneva — After over 340 screenings in some 100 countries, the film winners of the Global Migration Film Festival will be announced on International Migrants Day (18 December), during the closing ceremony in Geneva, which will take place at the traditional Maison des Arts du Grütli.

The event will include screening of the 10-minute participatory video short film Together United, Not Fragmented created in Jordan by migrants, followed by the screening of Problemski Hotel, by Manu Riche, an acid drama/comedy which portrays the lives of asylum seekers living in limbo in Belgium.

After the screenings, the winners of the Festival selected by the international jury will be announced. In total, six cash prizes will be given:  Three to the Emerging Category Filmmakers and three to the professional category.

In addition to the cash prize, the first place of the professional category will receive the most prestigious prize, La Cosmopolita, the Festival award statuette made by Mwafak.

Mwafak, a Syrian artist who sought refuge in Beirut, and eventually resettled abroad, is one of the main protagonists in the opening film of the Global Migration Film Festival in Geneva ­– Lost in Lebanon. The artist was commissioned to create the award statue for the Festival.

Mwafak describes La Cosmopolita, the statuette he has created as: “A human, female figure standing upright, portraying an optimistic gesture. The woman stands as a symbol of harmonic life and consistent peace. She looks up to the sky, into the future.”

The closing ceremony will end with a traditional cocktail prepared by Cuisine Lab, an organization led by migrants with special skills in the kitchen, sharing their culture and captivating people through flavours from different countries.

“We wanted to use the power of movies to bring communities and other stakeholders together around a screen to think, get inspired, learn and debate about the challenges and promises of migration. Films can be a tool to trigger some very much needed changes in policies and general behaviour towards migrants,” explained Amanda Nero, Festival Director.

The closing ceremony screening is organized in partnership with Ciné-ONU. Entrance will be free but on a first come, first served basis.

The Festival has been done in partnership with DHL, IOM Development Fund, Aware Migrants campaign and dozens of local partners in different regions of the world.

About the Festival

For over a century, filmmakers, many of them immigrants themselves, have been making movies about a world on the move – relating dramatic and poignant stories of migrants to diverse global audiences. Films have the power to show different facets of life, through which viewers may cultivate deeper empathy for migrants and a better understanding of their realities, needs, perspectives and capacities.

The objective of the GMFF is to use films as educational tools that influence perceptions of and attitudes towards migrants bringing attention to particular social issues. Films can: inform, inspire, transform and promote inclusion.

Last year, the inaugural Global Migration Film Festival saw 89 countries participating across five continents. This year the Festival reached some 100 countries from cinemas to concert halls and even impromptu settings in the midst of emergencies in countries such as South Sudan and Yemen.

For more information, please contact Amanda Nero at IOM HQ, Tel: +41767883785, Email: anero@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

The award ceremony marks the end of another successful Festival. Simultaneously, a screening in New York will be hosted by Academy-award winner Vanessa Redgrave.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Nepal Hosts Migration Film Festival to Mark International Migrants Day 2017

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 10:57

Kathmandu – As part of IOM’s second annual Global Migration Film Festival, and to mark International Migrants Day 2017, the UN Migration Agency yesterday organized a screening in Kathmandu of the documentary ‘This is Not Paradise,’ written and directed by Gaia Vianello and Lisa Tormena.

The film tells the story of Nepali migrant domestic workers toiling under harsh conditions in Lebanon. An estimated 10,000 Nepalese are currently working for Lebanese employers, many of them in domestic work. According to a Nepali government report, over 4,000 work permits have been issued to Nepali women to work in Lebanon over the past seven years.

The Festival invited professional and emerging filmmakers from all over the world to submit films themed around ‘the promise and challenges of migration for those who leave their homes in search of a better life and the contributions they make to their new communities.’

Various Nepali film makers submitted their work and the Nepali documentary ‘In Search of the Riyal,’ directed by Kesang Tseten, was among the films selected. It looks at the experiences of Nepali migrants working in the Gulf to send money home to their families in Nepal.

Over half of all Nepali households now have at least one migrant family member currently abroad or living in Nepal as a returnee.  While migration can be a route to a better future, it is rarely an easy process.  

Nepali migrant workers often have to cope with problems including faulty contracts, inflated service charges, fraud, non-payment of wages, debt-bondage, trafficking and slavery, while in transit or in their country of destination.

The documentary screening was followed by a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of labour migration in Nepal with experts from the government, IOM, UN agencies, development partners and civil society organizations.  

Speaking as a panelist at the event, IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton said: “The arts can sometimes speak louder than other forms of expression and reach wider audiences to promote migrants’ safety, dignity and human rights. Consequently, the films selected by IOM for its global migration film festival are meant to explore the untold realities and concerns of migrants around the world.”

“The first line of today’s film was: ‘Everything in the world will stop (in Lebanon) if all the migrant workers vanish.’ This might be said of most countries, given the key roles that migrant labour, students, tourists, professionals, family and other forms of migration play in contributing to healthy societies and economies around the world.  Migration does not only benefit the migrants themselves – it positively contributes to countries and societies in innumerable ways,” he added.

The Global Migration Film Festival is part of the UN’s ‘TOGETHER’ campaign, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. The Kathmandu screening event was supported by Yeti Domestic Airlines. 

 For more information, please contact Paul I. Norton at IOM Nepal, Tel: +977 1 4426250, Email: iomnepal@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:29Image: Region-Country: NepalDefault: Multimedia: 

‘This is Not Paradise’ is written and directed by Gaia Vianello and Lisa Tormena.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Regional Migration and Health Strategy for Southwestern Islands of the Indian Ocean Launched

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 10:55
Language English

Port Louis – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, together with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) today (15/12) launched the Regional Strategy for Migration and Health 2016-2018: Priorities among the Southwestern Islands of the Indian Ocean.

Migration contributes positively to the socio-economic development of both destination and origin countries, although conditions at each stage of migration – pre-departure, in movement, arrival, integration and return – can increase health vulnerabilities among migrants and their host communities. Poverty and a lack of education, language skills or professional skills can be a source of greater vulnerability.

Today, the five IOC Member States (Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion (France) and Seychelles) lack reliable and comparable data on the health of the migrants and the communities affected by migration, and suffer from absence or lack of coherence of their national policies on migration with international health-related commitments. The regional strategy introduces an innovative concept of migration and health in the sub-region, and will contribute to strengthen cooperation to reduce migration-related health vulnerabilities.

The Strategy was launched by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius, Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, as the IOC Council of Ministers’ current chair. High Level representatives from the IOC Member States’ Ministries and key public institutions with sectoral responsibilities on health and migration as well as United Nations, private sector and civil society representatives involved in migration and health issues were in attendance.

The strategy is the first of its kind to address intersecting migration and health issues in the sub-region. It presents a holistic view of migration and health, aligned with the World Health Assembly’s Resolution 61.17 (2008), the WHO’s Operational Framework on the Health of Migrants (2010), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

With this Strategy, IOM Mauritius and IOM Madagascar (also representing Union of Comoros and Seychelles) will contribute to support the IOC and its Member States to ensure migrants’ well-being according to specific targets and through evidence-based programmes; good public health practices that reduce long-term health and social care costs, facilitate integration and enable equitable development.

It is a significant achievement for the Partnership on Health and Mobility in Southern Africa (PHAMESA2) programme, which offers a comprehensive public health approach, addressing health concerns that particularly affect migrants and mobile populations with focus on HIV prevention, treatment and care; and related conditions like tuberculosis and reproductive health.

The launch also provided an opportunity for technical experts and stakeholders to foster dialogue among stakeholders to consider and facilitate future implementation arrangements, while also contributing to the global agenda on migration and health.

For more information, please contact Céline Lemmel at IOM Mauritius, Tel: +230 525 423 38, Email: clemmel@iom.int

Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:28Image: Region-Country: MauritiusDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Argentina Hosts Forum on Migration, Trade and the Global Economy

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 10:54

 Buenos Aires – The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) in collaboration with IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the Fundación Foro del Sur yesterday (14/12) organized the Forum on Migration, Trade and the Global Economy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The one-day event promotes a better understanding of the link between migration and international trade, through a dialogue based on the latest research, and a review of experiences and existing networks. 

The Forum gathered global experts, policymakers and researches to explore key areas such as policies and frameworks governing international markets in goods, services, investment and the knowledge economy, the impact of digital and other technologies, innovation networks, policy coherence, diaspora communities, labour mobility in regional integration processes and agreements between neighbouring countries.

“The cross-causality of trade and migration is a foundational dimension of the global economy,” said Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, ICTSD Chief Executive during the opening ceremony. “ICTSD and its partners consider it imperative to foster at this time a fuller understanding of the complexity of the linkages and offer dialogue platforms for better policy,” he added.

“The positive contribution of migration to development is recognized in the New York Declaration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” stated Diego Beltrand, IOM Regional Director for South America.

“It is obvious that migrants contribute to trade and investment through their work, small businesses, knowledge and technology; however, we are aware that more research on the link between migration and trade is required,” said Beltrand.

The President of Fundación Foro del Sur Aníbal Jozami, explained: “This Forum is a new and innovative way for international organizations to approach the migration issue. The great philosopher Ibn Arabi said that we are all travelers since we were banned from Paradise. Thus, it is time to overcome prejudices and to acknowledge that migrants not only contribute to cultural diversity but also they are a fundamental piece in every nation's economic development.”

Given the strong evidence suggesting that migration and trade are intrinsically linked, the Forum is a starting point to delineate a road map that allows strengthening the link between migration and international trade. IOM acknowledges this link and continues to promote actions among governments that realize the full potential of migration for the benefit of countries of origin and destination, including migrants themselves.

For more information, please contact:

Juliana Quintero at IOM Regional Office South America, Tel: +541148155194, Email: juquintero@iom.int

Jorge Galindo at IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email: jgalindo@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:27Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Diego Beltrand (third from left to right), IOM South America Regional Director, participated in the Forum. Photo: Juliana Quintero / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Our Right of Passage Should be Safe Migration, Not Leaky Boats

IOM - News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:00
Language English

By William Lacy Swing

Geneva — “I’m a migrant, but didn't have to risk my life on a leaky boat or pay traffickers. Safe migration cannot be limited to the global elite.”   Thus spoke United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in September 2017.

With a memorable turn of phrase, he captured what is perhaps one of the overriding challenges facing the world today. While we live at a time when a privileged elite considers global mobility virtually its birth-right, it is denied to countless others trapped in hopelessly bad economic or conflict circumstances.

But something else has changed to bring this self-evident reality into the grinding gears of global politics with often tragic consequences.

Not long ago a sort of insider/outsider code-of-conduct meant that what the elite got barely mattered to the global poor, who were only dimly aware of the opportunities to reach a better life beyond the confines of their country`s borders. That was then.

Today, the world’s greatest leveller, the smartphone—which now is in the hands of more than 2 billion across the world—continues to change all that. In less than a decade, smartphones have provided many outsiders with intimate knowledge of heretofore “elite” goings on.   

What’s happening is that two coexisting, if starkly diverging realities are clashing on the same planet, turning the hitherto somnolent politics of many countries unpredictable—and,  indeed, volatile.

On the one hand, freedom of movement is virtually guaranteed for a privileged and surprisingly broad global citizenry, for whom it has become natural to move safely, freely and relatively inexpensively around the world. This includes tourists, students, visiting family members, migrant workers from the global south (over 2 million Filipinos and 1 million Sri Lankans, etc.) as well as the businesspersons who keep our globalized world humming.

What we so easily forget in the discourse about migration is that millions are traveling in ever greater numbers. They move safely and in an orderly way, passing through security on the way to the gate, checking Facebook feeds and instant messages as they go. Above all, they move in a regular way, with passports (and visas) in hand.

So why, one might ask, has migration become such a toxic issue, leading the news headlines and providing fuel for political populism?

Part of the answer may well lie in our brushing over the challenges of integration and being too quick to judge popular hostility towards migration as irrational or worse. Politicians ignore the values people adhere to at their peril. 

Equally, if uninterrupted, global mass movements of people are seen to be so orderly, normal and beneficial for all that they do not draw comment, we will need to figure out how to cope with the majority denied mobility because of circumstances.

Hundreds of millions who are not part of the growing, truly global labor talent market find themselves outside looking in, and looking onto a world they can only dream of. They face enormous income disparities and hardships and no chance of getting a visa or a work permit.

It comes as no surprise then that vast armies of hopeful young migrants want to climb aboard the “leaky boats” referred to by the Secretary General. Pushed by lack of economic opportunity, often exacerbated by climate change, they too are vulnerable to the siren song of social media.

That’s where smuggling networks, human traffickers and modern day enslavers ply their trade these days with complete impunity. These cruel deceptions go unchecked, as the social media giants chase new markets in the global south  

This is the type of migration that we see on the news and that at its worst has led to the shocking reality—first revealed by IOM—of African migrants being sold as slaves and indentured servants. As population growth and economic failure drive migrants to throw caution to the wind and leave their homes, the inevitable result is populism at the receiving end where communities are also struggling with unemployment and identity issues.

This is why I place so much hope in a global compact for migration, expected to be adopted at the end of 2018.  It will be negotiated by Member States under the auspices of the United Nations and aims to address international migration in a comprehensive manner. The first planned inter-governmental agreement of its kind, it crucially is not expected to intrude on nation state sovereignty nor be legally binding, probably just as well given the tinderbox nature of the subject matter. 

There is a great deal of existing common ground and it hinges on the understanding that migration isn’t so much a problem to be solved as a human reality to be managed. If we stop to think about the strict and mandatory rules which enable over 8 million flights per year that enable the equivalent of 44 per cent of the world's population to take off and land safely, it should be possible to find some common rules in order to allow many more to travel, migrate and return home freely and safely. We need to offer hope to those facing economic despair, to provide legal pathways for more migrants or circular migration options for those who wish to work and return home.…because if we don’t come up with solutions the smugglers will do it for us, at great cost to human life and to the fabric of our societies. 

William Lacy Swing is the Director General of IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Humanitarian Catastrophe Looms in DR Congo as UN Migration Agency Appeals for USD 75 million

IOM - News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:21

Kinshasa – Over the past year, the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has deteriorated at an alarming rate. IOM, the UN Migration Agency is appealing for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced Congolese and the communities hosting them in the eastern and south-central provinces of North and South Kivu, Tanganyika and the Kasai.

In recent months, fighting has spread to parts of DRC that had not seen such violence since the 1994-2003 conflict, which claimed millions of lives. This and largescale hostility between communities has led to the internal displacement of 4.1 million people, making the DRC, the African country with the highest displacement of its population.

Violence in South Kivu, Tanganyika and the Kasai is estimated to have alone displaced 2.5 million of the total figure and new displacements are occurring daily in North Kivu. On average, over 44,000 people are being displaced each month. The country is also host to some 600,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, who are also in need of support.

“With so many humanitarian crises worldwide, the situation in DRC is at risk of being ignored while it develops into the biggest emergency of 2018,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies following a visit to the country last week. “Robust funding and concerted action are urgently needed to stop already immense suffering from spiralling beyond the humanitarian community’s capacity to respond.”

The deepening of the crisis in DRC is sparking rises in malnutrition, food insecurity and health epidemics, such as measles and cholera outbreaks, which are stretching to breaking point the current response capacity of the humanitarian community. An estimated total of 13.1 million Congolese will be in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and protection throughout 2018 with access to shelter, food, clean water, sanitation and health of particular concern.

“Due to ongoing fighting, access to those newly displaced is a major challenge to IOM’s response on the ground. Our teams are having to travel up to four hours on ‘safe routes’ to reach communities most in need,” said Abdiker.

Children, young men, women and ethnic minorities have been among the hardest-hit by the violence. More than 4 million children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition. Some 7.7 million people are expected to be impacted by the devastating effects of an acute food emergency, while 10.5 million have limited or no access to healthcare. An estimated 4.7 million women and girls will be exposed to gender-based violence (GBV) in crisis-affected areas in 2018.

“The rise in sexual and violent assault against women in DRC is shocking and bears a stark resemblance to the widespread targeting of vulnerable women and girls in the 1994-2003 conflict. The humanitarian community must do everything possible to protect them and assist survivors,” added Abdiker.

People forced to flee their homes and those returning to burnt villages face intense levels of vulnerability and are in urgent need of multi-sectoral assistance from the humanitarian community, particularity protection, including from GBV, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), shelter, education, food security and health. 

In October, through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the humanitarian community declared the situation in South Kivu, Tanganyika and the Kasai to be a Level-3 emergency, which means that an urgent scale-up of humanitarian assistance, funding and capacity is needed to meet the growing needs.

IOM’s appeal is part of the larger humanitarian response plan, which is set to be released soon. IOM’s interventions will focus on camp coordination and camp management, displacement tracking, shelter and relief distribution, WASH, healthcare and protection, particularly responding to GBV.

“The historically low level of humanitarian funding is the single-most debilitating factor blocking humanitarian actors from providing lifesaving assistance in the DRC,” said Abdiker. “By failing to secure the funding needed, thousands of displaced Congolese and host communities will be deprived of crucial protection and assistance and countless lives will be unnecessarily lost.”

You can read IOM’s full appeal here

For more information, please contact:

Olivia Headon in IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int
Jean-Philippe Chauzy in IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email: jpchauzy@iom.int   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 18:13Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Assistance is needed for newly arrived Internally Displaced Persons in Kibari Buporo site, Masisi territory, North Kivu Province, DRC. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Moves to Halt Spread of Diphtheria in Bangladesh Refugee Camps

IOM - News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:13

Cox’s Bazar - IOM, the UN Migration Agency has launched a major intervention to help halt the spread of diphtheria among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

As a mass vaccination programme gets underway, IOM is working to provide vaccination support services and other services. These include community awareness raising; tracing of those who have come in contact with infected individuals to offer them preventative medical attention; and providing observation facilities for people recovering from the disease.

On 6 December, the World Health Organization warned diphtheria is now spreading rapidly among the population in the over-crowded refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar.

As of 11 December, around 449 probable cases had been identified with nine of these leading to deaths. However, it is believed the true numbers of those suffering from the disease may be considerably higher, as victims may confuse their symptoms with mumps, sore throats or other flu-like illnesses.

IOM, which has been providing medical services to refugees and the local community in Cox’s Bazar since 2013, is now also set to expand its own in-patient capacity to 120 beds and offer support to help other organisations working on the ground to increase their in-patient facilities.

As part of its broader health efforts, IOM is also taking on additional non-diphtheria-related cases, including measles cases, to allow specialists from other organizations to focus on the most severe diphtheria cases.

“IOM medical staff were already working hard to provide services in very challenging circumstances. The spread of diphtheria is putting further pressure on our medical teams. But along with our partners, a major effort is now underway to provide the necessary treatment for those who have already contracted the disease and halt its spread as soon as possible,” said IOM Emergency Health Officer Mariam Spijkerman-Abdelkerim.

IOM already expanded its medical services in Cox’s Bazar after 25 August, when a major upsurge in violence in Myanmar sent a flood of refugees fleeing over the border into Bangladesh. An estimated 646,000 people have arrived since then, bringing the total number of refugees living in camps and surrounding areas to over 858,000, with more people continuing to arrive every day.

IOM – which last week conducted its 100,000 medical consultation in 100 days – currently runs 23 health posts and one primary health care centre. It also supports nine government health facilities and works with over 350 community health workers – making it one of the largest health responders working on the ground.

The community health workers will play a key role in sharing information about diphtheria, vaccination, prevention and treatment with the community – and in ensuring people receive the support they need to access vital follow up medications and treatments.

For more information please contact:
Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int 
Shirin Ahkter at IOM Dhaka, Tel: +880 2 55044811-13, Email: sakhter@iom.int


Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 17:55Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM health staff assisting several Rohingya refugees in the Ukihya medical health complex in Cox's Bazar. Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 166,143 in 2017; Deaths Reach 3,091

IOM - News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:52

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 166,143 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 10 December, with just over 70 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 354,395 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported Monday (11 December) that, according to Ministry of Interior figures, 117,260 with three weeks remaining in the calendar year. That number is precisely two-thirds the number of sea arrivals to Italy through this same date last year – or a 33 per cent fall-off in total sea arrivals in the Central Mediterranean route from this point last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Monday reported that over the weekend 516 migrants had been rescued in the Mediterranean. These migrants were being brought to Italy on Monday and the overall majority of them are not included in the table above.

Di Giacomo also reported statistics from Italy’s Ministry of Interior as to the top nationalities arriving in Italy this year irregularly this year from North Africa. Through the end of November, Nigeria remains the largest sender with 18,049 – a number that is less than half the 36,352 arriving through 11 months of 2016.

Sub-Saharan senders Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire – respectively the #2 and #3 sender states – also recorded steep drops in arrival numbers over the same period last year. Bangladesh, at #4, has recorded a slight rise – to just under 9,000 migrants – although practically that entire total crossed from Africa before summer. Mali (#5), Eritrea (#6) and Sudan (#7) also showed drops, as did Senegal (#9) and The Gambia (#10). Two North Africa senders, Tunisia (#8) and Morocco (#11), recorded increases (see chart below).

IOM Spain reported total arrivals at sea in 2017 surpassed the 20,000 mark with 20,218 men, women and children being rescued in Western Mediterranean waters. That is more than twice the total number of Western Mediterranean arrivals for all of last year, 8,162 (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska said Monday that 20,000 irregular sea arrivals are the most reported by Spain since 2006, when over 39,000 migrants entered Europe irregularly through Spanish waters. That year, however, some 31,678 were arrivals to Spain’s Canarias islands off West Africa. In 2006 just 7,502 entered Spain through the Western Mediterranean.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Monday (11 December) of two recent incidents off the island of Samos and Chios that required search and rescue operation.

Some 16,193 men, women and children have entered Greece by sea from waters of the Eastern Mediterranean since 1 August, or almost 50 per cent more migrants than entered (11,405) during all of 2017’s first seven months. Namia further reported that 636 migrants or refugees entered Greece by sea during the dates 1-9 December, but almost half of those – 264 arriving on the islands of Chios, Samos and Lesvos – came on a single day, which was last Wednesday (6 December). Through 9 December, the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory is 27,598 (see chart below).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported worldwide deaths of 5,205 men women and children during migration in 2017. Since last week’s update, the Missing Migrants Project team recorded the death of one migrant on the US/Mexico border: a Mexican national died of hypothermia in Maverick County, Texas (USA) on 7 December. Agents from the US Border Patrol received a distress call from a party of migrants lost on a remote ranch after crossing the border. When agents finally located the group, one had succumbed.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/171212_Mediterranean_Update.pdf
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information, please contact:

Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email: mmocanu@iom.int
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail: dtsagalas@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Berlin, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Mobile +216 28 78 78 05, Email: mchabbi@iom.int


Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 17:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency, African Development Bank Work to Improve Water and Sanitation Services in Rural Somalia

IOM - News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:43

Mogadishu – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, last week (06-07/12) held a technical workshop funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to facilitate the implementation of a new project to improve access to water and sanitation services in rural areas of Somalia. Held in collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia, the three-year project aims to reduce infant and child mortality caused by water borne diseases.

Nearly 6.2 million people need humanitarian assistance in Somalia, due to the failure of consecutive rainy seasons and an ongoing conflict. The dire humanitarian situation has led to massive displacement and disease outbreaks. Many families have been forced to live in congested settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs), often without basic services.

This project strives to strengthen sustainable water solutions and increase the technical capacity of local administrations to operate and maintain water infrastructure. In line with the New Way of Working, it will address immediate water and sanitation needs while simultaneously building community resilience to withstand future drought and environmental related shocks.

John Sifuma, Water and Sanitation Specialist from AfDB, said: “The Bank is responding to the challenge of supporting inclusive growth, and the transition to green growth, by scaling up investments and implementation of its ten-year strategy by focusing on five priority areas: Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Integrate Africa; Industrialize Africa and Improve quality of life for the people of Africa.”

Sifuma added: “The project falls under the fifth priority and is aligned to Somalia’s National Development Plan. The Bank will continue working closely with the Federal Government of Somalia to support implementation of the government’s development agenda.”

Acknowledging the strong collaboration between the government, IOM and AfDB, Somalia’s Minister for Energy and Water Resources Salimo Aloi Ibro said: “The ministry has worked closely with IOM and AfDB since the conceptualization of this project. We were involved in developing the concept note, project appraisals, and creation of all the key project documents. In the future, we are hoping that IOM and AfDB can help us scale up activities in Kismayo, Baidoa, Afgoye and Jowhar – places where the needs on the ground far outstretch available resources.”

IOM Somalia Chief of Mission Dyane Epstein noted: “This project endeavours to improve the quality of life for an estimated 175,000 Somalis. As solutions to sustainable water provision and infrastructure are developed, other socio-economic activities will also flourish. This includes the rearing of livestock, which remains the main source of livelihoods for the majority of this project’s beneficiaries.’’ 

In 2017, IOM has provided conditional and unconditional food and water to drought-affected people in Somalia. Over 200 million litres of clean and safe water have been supplied to approximately 570,000 people in Somalia through a water voucher mechanism.

IOM is also conducting intensive hygiene and sanitation promotion activities within at-risk communities, having reached an estimated 563,000 people with behavioural change messages between January and October 2017.”

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita, IOM Somalia, Tel: + 254 715 990 600, Email: iomsomaliapsu@iom.int


Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 17:38Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Prof Salimo Aloi Ibro, Minister of Energy and Water Resources speaks at launch on 6 December of project that will improve access to water and sanitation services in rural Somalia. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

The IOM team has already completed multiple water kiosks as seen in Balandal, Galmudug state. This project will also rehabilitate strategic water systems and install solar water pumps by incorporating sanitation facilities. In addition, the construction of 53 mini solar powered/three tank water systems has also begun. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Other projects have been completed in Balandal including the rehabilitation of one borehole, the construction of two water kiosks, one elevated water tank, one pipeline system, one generator house, one chain-link fencing, one caretaker’s house, two water troughs, one gantry and one 30 KVA generator. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Publishes Assessment on Displacement and Returns in Iraq

IOM - News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:38

Erbil – As the Iraqi Government celebrated its final victory over ISIL this week, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, released a new study, which shows that 90 per cent of displaced Iraqis are determined to return home. This is similar to the long-term intentions recorded in 2016. 

More than 1.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their places of origin so far in 2017. In total since the start of the crisis in 2014, IOM estimates that more than 2.8 million displaced Iraqis have returned, while more than 2.9 million people remain displaced. 

The IOM study, Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) analyzes both displacement and return movements of conflict-affected people across Iraq. Approximately 2.1 million displaced persons and more than 1.6 million returnees, based in 3,583 locations across Iraq, have been covered in the assessment, which was carried out between March and May 2017.  

Only in Basrah and Najaf did families report that they consider integrating into the local community, where they are displaced.  

According to the findings, Anbar was the single governorate where most returns took place in both 2016 and 2017, followed by Ninewa in 2017.  

Among the main findings, this study identifies that residential and infrastructure damage is widespread. Nearly one third of returnees are reported to have returned to houses that have suffered significant damage, and 60 per cent to moderately damaged residences. Regarding infrastructure, most damage appears to affect roads, followed by the public power grid and water networks.  

The share of displaced Iraqis who have settled in critical shelters and returnees unable to return to their habitual residence seems to have slightly increased compared to 2016. This might be related to the lack of legal documentation for houses, land and property which was reported among the top three challenges in nearly one out of four locations. 

Difficulties in returning to the habitual residence may also be related to the fact that in some cases, those who remain in displacement are among the poorest and most vulnerable families, strained by long years on the move. In locations where there are female-headed households, and particularly households headed by minor females, “lack of money” is consistently among the top three obstacles to return. 

Long-term concerns over economic security persist with 80 per cent of displaced people and 63 per cent of returnees cited access to employment as one of their top three needs.  

However, the main obstacle to return reported by the displaced population remained lack of security in the place or origin, whether due to ongoing conflict, presence of UXO, landmines and militias.   

The ILA Part I: Thematic Overview, the ILA Part II: Governorate Profiles and Questionnaire can be downloaded on the DTM ILA II portal page.

For more information, please contact Sandra Black in IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int


Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 17:53Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Psychosocial Support to Syrian Refugees in Jordan Enhanced Through Training for Health, Protection Providers

IOM - News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:35

Amman – The psychological effects of the six-year-long Syrian conflict have been devastating for many of those affected. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is helping enhance psychosocial support to Syrian refugees in Jordan. Today (12/12) in Amman, front-line officers working with refugees will complete a three-day psychosocial support training, which aimed to improve the capacity of frontline protection and health workers to incorporate mental health and psychosocial support in their work.

From April and December 2017, IOM held four training sessions, in which, professionals from Governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who deliver protection and health services to Syrian refugees and Jordanians, took part.

“The training will help me to do more and to know how to act in front of a survivor of violence,” said Linda Samarna, a translator for the Jordanian Government’s Counter Trafficking Unit, before she took part in the last session. “We often deal with cases of violence,” she added.

A number of international organizations and NGOs are implementing programmes in Jordan, adding to the work already done by Jordanian NGOs, such as Nour Hussein Foundation and the Jordan River Foundation. The increase of service providers as part of the response to the Syrian crisis has made it more challenging for social workers to understand the full range of services available in terms of mental health and psychosocial support. The training has served to improve a network among the relevant actors by sharing information about the services available both for Syrian refugees and Jordanians.

“To include the mental health component in their work front-line officers need to be trained on basic techniques such as de-escalation of a violent situation, the principle of “do no harm”, survivor centred approaches when dealing with Gender Based Violence survivors and children that have survived violence,” said Marie Adèle Salem, the trainer.

Through the training the participants also got the opportunity to share their experiences in relation to mental health and psychosocial support. The training provided a platform for the discussion of common cases and challenges faced by the participants, and how to strengthen their coordination among themselves. The participants also worked on the general development of self-care considerations, and skills for self-awareness and self-help.

The training is part of a regional project funded by the Government of Italy and implemented by IOM in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The project aims to build a sustainable and harmonized response in addressing the psychosocial needs of internally displaced persons, refugees and communities affected by the conflict in Syria and neighboring countries. The project is in line with the priorities of the 2015 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for the crisis in Syria, the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Setting

For more information, please contact Laura Sisniega at IOM Jordan, Email: lsisniegacrespo@iom.int, Tel: +962 79 7048167


Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 17:28Image: Region-Country: JordanThemes: Migration HealthRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Refugees Looking for Help with Their New Lives in Turkey? There’s an App for That

IOM - News - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 08:28

Ankara – Syrian refugees in Turkey are leading the way pioneering web-based services that provide access to information their community needs to help them set up a new life. They have quickly won support from international companies and organizations, and now their apps and online platforms provide displaced communities with housing and job listings, translations of Turkish laws, advice on getting residence permits, opening a bank account, and more.

Roughly 220,000 of the 3,300,000 Syrians in Turkey live in refugee camps and receive housing and basic needs assistance. The rest live in big cities where it can be difficult to find legal employment to build sustainable livelihoods for them and their families. As a result, many turn to the use of technology especially social media and apps that help them navigate the local context. The convenience and accessibility of online work is also a factor attracting Syrians to the tech sector.

Recognizing the growing trend of displaced persons seeking solutions and employment in the tech industry, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, provides Information Technology and Communication (ITC) skills development through its emergency response programme in provinces on the Syrian border including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Hatay, and Izmir. To date, IOM’s Entrepreneurship Training and Grants Project has reached 555 displaced persons, enrolling 87 of them in an intensive 90-hour training course and providing select teams with seed funding to create their own startups.

One of these beneficiaries is a young man named Khaled Fattal, a 28-year-old Syrian IT engineer and project coordinator for an organization called Kodra that trains Syrians on how to start their own companies. Khaled participated in an IOM-hosted workshop in Gaziantep on 5-6 December that brought together a diverse group of UN agencies, international organizations, Turkish and Syrian tech companies all working to better integrate displaced persons in the tech sector and create win-win solutions for ITC companies and Syrians looking for jobs.

“Taking part in this workshop made me familiar with companies I did not know about before that provide IT training to Syrian refugees. It’s also provided me with more connections that will help the Syrians Kodra works with to reach more clients,” said Khaled.

Representatives from companies such as Turkcell, Cisco, and NGOs such as Re:Coded and Natakallam, participated in the workshop to discuss how to build stronger working partnerships. Some of discussion focused on how to tackle challenges Syrians face in terms of finding longer-term freelance work, securing jobs in the formal sector, and overcoming barriers such as restrictions on international bank transactions, etc.

Furkan Ozdil, a representative from Turkcell’s Corporate Social Responsibility department, shared another important barrier they are addressing. “Turkcell’s Hello Hope mobile app is helping integrate displaced Syrians through providing Turkish language education, with the aim to help them overcome language barriers and improve their employment prospects,” he said. The app also provides easy access to Turkcell’s Arabic Call Center and provides information on general services available to them.

Michael Newson, IOM’s Senior Labour Mobility and Human Development Specialist who presided over the workshop, said, “It’s crucial we identify the challenges Syrians face in getting jobs and come up with more innovative approaches to help them gain skills and access the labour market. I am happy to see integration between host and refugee communities improving on this topic and our workshop is a good example of this. Half of our participants are from Syrian communities and the other half are Turkish.”

IOM Turkey plans to expand the programme to additional provinces in 2018 and increase the number of entrepreneurship grants for innovative projects.

For more information please contact: Lanna Walsh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: lwalsh@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 8, 2017 - 15:12Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Khaled Fattal, a 28-year-old Syrian IT engineer, participates in IOM’s workshop on ITC initiatives to support livelihoods and employment among displaced populations in Gaziantep, Turkey, 5-6 December 2017. Photo: Nadine Al Lahham / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

IOM Participates in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in Libya

IOM - News - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 08:27

Tripoli – As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is organizing activities in the east, south and west of Libya. This year’s campaign falls under the overarching theme of Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls, which is in accordance with a core principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The events started on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and will continue till 10 December, Human Rights Day, and include workshops, debates and exhibitions in Sabha, Benghazi, Misratah, Tripoli and Zwara.

“This has been an opportunity to raise awareness of violence against women and girls and we are particularly pleased to have been able to organize events across Libya, from the east, and south, to the west of the country,” said Karolina Edsbacker, IOM Libya Programme Manager.

Quiz competitions on the topic of gender-based violence were held in the city squares of Zwarah and Misratah by the Psychological Support Team. The events in both cities were followed by an art exhibition featuring paintings and drawings that participants produced to express their points of view on gender-based violence.

In the east of Libya, in Benghazi, IOM in partnership with the Libyan Health Organization (LHO) held a workshop for young leaders from 15 local NGOs/CSOs. The aim of the workshop was to develop the capacities of local leaders to encourage girls to report on gender-based violence, increase and spread awareness about their rights and challenges they may face because of their gender, as well as discussing recommendations on ways to combat and overcome those challenges.

At the same time, in the southern city of Sabha, university students from the Literature University gathered for a workshop with interactive games and competitions facilitated by Y PEER Libya.

On 6 December, in Tripoli’s Martyrs Square, the Joussour Center for Studies and Development organized a children’s play day centered around the topic of violence against women and children. Curious passers-by also stopped by to discuss and receive more information on the topic. In cooperation with Joussour, IOM also executed two public events, one at the University of Tripoli and one at Nasser’s University. The students discussed the definition of “gender-based violence” and expressed an interest in receiving more information on how they could partake in awareness raising.

Awareness raising is an important element of IOM’s short- and long-term protection strategy. IOM has previously rolled out awareness campaigns shedding light on topics such as human trafficking, which reached more than 38,000 individuals in Tripoli, Benghazi, Misratah and Azzawiyah.

This campaign is made possible by donations from the Regional Development and Protection Project (RDPP) for Tripoli and Benghazi; RDPP for North Africa, Development Pillar, funded by the European Union and the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) for Sabha, Misrata and Zwara.

For more information, please contact IOM Libya: Christine Petre, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or

Karolina Edsbacker, Tel: +216 29 202 896, Email: kedsbacker@iom.int

For more information, please contact IOM Libya: Christine Petre, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or
Karolina Edsbacker, Tel: +216 29 202 896, Email: kedsbacker@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 8, 2017 - 15:11Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, IOM is organizing activities in the east, south and west of Libya. Photo: Saddam Rachdi / Ehssan wa Takwa Organization 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency, Government of Niger Welcome First Charter of Migrants from Libya

IOM - News - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 08:26

Niamey – Following recent international discussions, the Government of Niger and IOM, the UN Migration Agency in Niger have begun the mass evacuation of the almost 4,000 migrants that have registered for voluntary return at the Embassy of Niger in Libya.

Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Niger with the Niger Embassy in Tripoli, and under the initiative of President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou and Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, the evacuations officially began this week (06/12) with the arrival of the first of eight charter flights carrying 504 migrants, including women and young children at the Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey.

IOM is providing technical and logistic support for the registration, profiling, reception and onward transportation of the returning migrants, under the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism (MRRM) financed by the European Union.

The migrants were received by the Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Health and Humanitarian Action, more than 50 IOM staff and other senior officials.

IOM staff from operations, protection, medical, logistics, finance, information management, reintegration, community stabilization and communication units were at the airport to welcome, register, profile, provide food and water and facilitate the transportation of the returnees to their villages of origin.

IOM and the Government of Niger are also exploring possibilities for the socio-economic reintegration of migrants arriving in the following weeks.

After the successful reception of the first charter last night, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Niger officially confirmed the plans for seven additional charters carrying 500 migrants each, one per day, from Wednesday (06/12) onwards, to transport the total 3,850 Nigerian migrants now registered in Tripoli.

Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s Minister of Interior praised in his speech the fruitful partnership with IOM, and complimented the Organization for making possible the dignified return of Nigerien migrants under the best possible conditions.

The success of the operation is a stepping stone in strengthening the partnership between IOM and the Government of Niger.

“After the discussions at the [AU-EU] summit in Abidjan, the government has demonstrated its commitment to making this evacuation a priority and a reality,” declared Alberto Preato, IOM’s MRRM Programme Manager. “The success of the operation is a stepping stone in strengthening the partnership between IOM and the Government of Niger. IOM is proud to be part of this operation and to be able to bring back hope to those who had long lost it,” he added.

The teams left the airport early next morning ensuring all 504 returning migrants were on their way home. IOM staff is fully prepared to welcome the second charter due today (08/12). Moreover, in close collaboration with IOM staff in Libya, the mission in Niger is preparing to receive additional groups of migrants now in detention centres across Libya.

Meanwhile, IOM staff in Agadez are now assisting the 10th convoy of migrants arriving from Algeria as they prepare themselves for possible mass evacuations of stranded migrants from its northern borders.

For more information, please contact Alberto Preato at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8053 5933, Email: apreato@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 8, 2017 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 500 passengers from the first of eight charter flights scheduled from Libya to Niger arrived on Wednesday 6 December. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM